I’ve been writing since I was old enough to string words together. Most of those early stories are forgotten, and should be. I was learning. I was also young, so they revolved around horses and ranches and guys too cool to exist (or resist).
I married young to a high school sweetheart who was pretty damn cool. I was really practical about it: “I’ll try this once, and if it doesn’t work out, never again.” (I never married again.)
We lasted six years. It turned out he wasn’t as cool as I thought he was. In fact, he was kind of a dick, though we did have some good times, bought a house in south Minneapolis (he still lives there today, with his second wife, who happens to have the same first name as me), and he introduced me to a bunch of his friends, one of whom was R. Yup, that’s how far back my friendship with him goes–about forty years.
I wasn’t happy most of the time, so I wrote a lot. Finished four books. They were written on a typewriter. If I made a mistake, white-out was used. Remember those days? Jesus, I’m glad computers were invented!
My first “book” was a Star Trek fanfic. I still have it, albeit in a form that’s not easily read because I can’t even remember what program I used to create it. Not Word, though. Didn’t exist in the early days of desktops. Notepad opens it, except it does weird things to the formatting. I used the word impassive repetitively, and guess what? I didn’t have to re-read it to realize that. I remember, all these years later, overusing that word horribly. But it was written on a typewriter, and I never had a chance to fix that.
Then I wrote the Theo Fenraven book. For those of you who don’t know, I stole the name from myself. The book was named Fenraven and was a space opera similar to Star Wars. I have a print copy of this, and the first page is damn good. The writing is clean and lean, and I didn’t spot anything I’d change. Apparently, I had talent even then. Heh.
I’m considering rewriting the sucker and publishing it, because as I recall, it was fun. Very little hard science, just light entertainment when you’re in the mood for it. The scooters that ran on electric tracks in my book are now a reality in several cities, only it’s trolleys using them. We still don’t have personal spaceships, though. Bummer.
After that came a tearjerker named Beaver Creek. I’m amazed at how long it is on paper: 335 pages! Apparently, I was more wordy then. I remember this one only vaguely, but it had a rural setting and someone died.
Last but not least was a raunchy story about a commune and a sexy threesome. This one is also surprisingly long. I did read some of it. Not bad, but dated. Things really have changed in the last 30-40 years.
Life got in the way for the next twenty years, and I didn’t return to writing again until long after my divorce and getting laid off a job during one of Bush’s recessions. I haven’t stopped since.
I’m not sure what I want to do with these stories, but I’ve been lugging them around since I was in my twenties. Throwing them out would be like destroying a piece of me. To rewrite them, I’d either have to type them all into Scrivener or open the electronic copies in Notepad and fix the damn formatting before proceeding.
Do any of you have old completed manuscripts you haven’t done anything with?